As the annual MLB owners meetings begin Tuesday, a vote on moving the Athletics from Oakland to Las Vegas is at the top of their to-do list.
But although the owners are expected to approve the move, the transfer process is not set in stone.
David Sampson, the former president of the Florida Marlins and Montreal Expos who was involved in the relocation process for both teams, recently explained why this happened in Interview with Jason Mastrodonato San Jose Mercury News.
“It’s the next step,” Sampson told Mastrodonato. “It’s a step. It’s not the final step. Even with the vote to approve the transfer, it doesn’t mean Oakland will lose its team.”
“What they will agree to is for the quality players to move to Las Vegas. But that does not mean baseball has approved the final documents.
The A’s need 75 percent of MLB owners to approve the move in a vote expected to take place Thursday.
Although it’s a major step in the process for A’s owner John Fisher, the franchise still has a lot to do after the fact, according to Mastrodonato, including approving a stadium operating agreement, a non-transfer agreement with Las Vegas, a construction agreement, and a financing plan. Especially new designs for the proposed stadium after the original versions were presented.
“These are not all five-page agreements; “That’s hundreds of pages,” Samson told Mastrodonato. “There has to be another stage where baseball will approve all of these documents. … John Fisher can’t stand up and say, ‘We’re playing here.’”
Additionally, the A’s’ lease to play at the Oakland Coliseum expires after the 2024 MLB season, so the team will need to find a new place to play unless its agreement is renewed. Auckland Mayor Sheng Thao said the lease extension could come with conditions, as the city seeks assurance for a future expansion team and that the “A” name will remain in the Bay.
Meanwhile, Nevada teachers are doing everything they can to prevent top students from receiving public funding approved by the state Legislature this summer to help build their new stadium in Las Vegas. Schools over stadiums are trying to allocate $380 million in public funding on the November 2024 election ballot, hoping Nevadans will redirect that money away from a potential stadium.
After a season of reverse boycotts and a lot of uncertainty for Team A fans, a lot depends on this week’s vote. But it’s not necessarily the end of the road for those hoping to see the team stay in Oakland.
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